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Genetics Project Ideas for High School

Instructor: John Hamilton

John has tutored algebra and SAT Prep and has a B.A. degree with a major in psychology and a minor in mathematics from Christopher Newport University.

Genetics is a fascinating topic that includes DNA as well as dominant and recessive traits. The following hands-on projects will allow your high school underclassmen to better understand concepts related to heredity.

Why Genetics?

The study of genetics can lead to a better understanding of the human condition, and many scientists believe genetics will ultimately assist them in alleviating the suffering caused by many diseases. These following three projects are ideal for high school freshmen and sophomores, although upperclassmen could benefit from them as well.

Recreate Mendel's Famous Pea Experiment

  • Gregor Mendel is often called 'The Father of Genetics.' He cross-pollinated tall and short pea plants to create new hybrid plants. He also examined seven traits of the pea plants. In this project, your students will actually recreate the most famous genetic experiment of all time.

Materials - blank labels with strings attached (small size), Internet access (to watch how to cross-pollinate pea plants, if necessary), markers, pea plants (an equal amount of tall and short plants) in small containers, plant cups, soil, tweezers, water

Time: Ongoing throughout the semester

  • Let your students know they will be recreating a famous pea plant experiment by Gregor Mendel.

Note to teacher - this might sound daunting, but is not too difficult. You may want to try this at home a couple of weeks before teaching it in class.

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